NJ Little League Champ Officials Stole From Team, Prosecutor Says
JACKSON — Six months after the team's appearance in the Little League World Series, the Holbrook Little League's president and treasurer have been charged with stealing more than $118,000 in league funds, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.
League president Anthony Anthony M. Del Vecchio, 63, and League Treasurer John M. Lehmann, 55, both of Jackson, were charged on Friday with second-degree theft and conspiracy to commit theft for the misappropriation of league finances, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said.
The Holbrook Little League was ranked as the fourth best U.S. team in the tournament but lost 12-2 in their first round of play to a team from Fairfield, Connecticut. They are also the New Jersey state Little League champions.
An investigation was started in December when the Ocean County Economic Crimes received an anonymous letter about alleged theft from the league. Coronato said Del Vecchio and Lehmann were the sole sole signatories on the league bank accounts.
The Economic Crimes Unit also verified that Lehmann was the sole debit cardholder on the league account and had misused the card in excess of $500.
The Asbury Park Press reported earlier this week that Del Vecchio and Lehmann had stepped down after questions were raised about slow disbursement of funds donated to the league to cover parents' expenses related to the World Series. The league's board of directors called for the investigation after they looked at the books.
Coronato said the board members cooperated in the investigation, which included a review of league finances from 2014 to the present.
Del Vecchio surrendered with attorney Richard LoMurro by his side while Lehmann was arrested on Friday afternoon at his job in Rahway.
LoMurro told New Jersey 101.5 that "we fully plan on addressing the charges with the county prosecutor's office." Del Vechicco was later released.
Cononato did not disclose the name of Lehmann's legal counsel.